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Fix your eyes on Jesus

Friday 30 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Fix your eyes on Jesus
In any race, let alone this life in Christ, carrying excess weight slows down any participant, so it’s no surprise that all athletes dress light and will not carry anything or drink anything that will hinder their race, writes Pastor Paul Kauri. Tabernacle of David/22122902

As we approach to the end of yet another year, there are two scriptures that I would like to leave with our readers to ponder along with two key thoughts, writes Paul Kauri, lead pastor at The Arepua Gateway Assembly of God Church.

In Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi he writes;

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. Philippians 3:12-15

First Thought: Forget the past, press on, and win the prize

The first thought in this scripture is summed up in the subtitle – forget the past, press on, and win the prize. Many readers may interpret this to mean, forget the past failures, get back up and keep moving forward, keep pressing on to win the prize. And if you have made some failures/mistakes in 2022, then yes! Please don’t let the failures stop you or even worse, define you. Get back up, repent where necessary, ask God for his grace and wisdom and keep moving forward. Learn from your mistakes use them as stepping stones to be all that God called you to be, with a brighter future.

We have all come to understand that the opposite of success is NOT failure. Every successful person in any field without exception, who succeeded in their arena, made tons of mistakes, learnt from their failures, never gave up when it got hard, and pressed on to become a success story. These ordinary, everyday people have helped us to understand that the opposite of success is not failure. The opposite of success, is to quit.

So if this interpretation of this thought applies to you, then by all means, get back up, forget what was behind and press on and take a hold of all the reasons why God took a hold of you – you were born for this time!

However the opposite of this is also true, that is, don’t stop at yesterday’s successes, that was yesterday, move on! Forget what is behind and keep straining toward what is ahead! You cannot live on the memory of yester-years success and if I can be brutally honest, while some people will remember your past success, most have moved on, and so should you.

The second thought is also found in what many scholars believe were writings from the Apostle Paul in a letter called Hebrews. In chapter 12 of this letter he writes:

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Second Thought: Run light, run your race, stay focused

I will break up the second thought in its three points.

Firstly, run light

In any race, let alone this life in Christ, carrying excess weight slows down any participant, so it’s no surprise that all athletes dress light and will not carry anything or drink anything that will hinder their race. Paul exhorts the readers to throw off what hinders and the sin that so easily entangles! Carrying excess luggage such as a grudge, shame, worry and guilt in this race will wear you out. Drinking from the well of bitterness and unforgiveness will drain your life in this race. Paul’s solution is simple – Throw it off! Confess your sins to God so that you can be free from shame and guilt. Forgive those who have hurt you and live healed so you can run light.

Secondly, run your race

My wife told me something that the Lord said to her when she was running with friends in a challenge programme. She watched as others overtook her in the run, but she also noticed that she also overtook some ladies too, who had a different pace to her. The Lord said to her, “Run your own race”. This was very liberating for her, for she wasn’t competing against anyone else but herself. It also meant she wasn’t comparing herself to others who were faster than her, and she wasn’t arrogant as she ran past others. She was running her own race. You will find this same liberty if you stop comparing yourself to others, and just run your race.

Thirdly, stay focused

The third point is the key to all the points and thoughts in this article. If you miss this one, you miss them all, likewise, if you get this one, He will help you with the others. Verse two of Hebrews 12 tells us who to stay focused on, “fixing our eyes on Jesus”.

He is the reason we keep straining toward what is ahead as we forget the past. He is the prize! He is the reason we run light, forgiving others as He forgives us. He is the reason for who we are and all we do.

As we enter a new year, I want to encourage our readers, to let go of the failures and successes of 2022, keep pressing on in Christ, by running light and running your race and renew your love and devotion to Christ, as we enter into 2023.

From Tania and I, and on behalf of all the Assemblies of God churches in the Cook Islands,

The LORD Bless you and keep you

The LORD make His face shine upon you

and be gracious to you

The LORD life up His countenance over you

and give you peace.

Amen.